Hollow mesoporous silica nanoparticle (HMSN) has recently gained increasing interests due to their tremendous potential as an attractive nano-platform for cancer imaging and therapy. However, possibly due to the lack of efficient in vivo targeting strategy and well-developed surface engineering techniques, engineering of HMSN for in vivo active tumor targeting, quantitative tumor uptake assessment, multimodality imaging, biodistribution and enhanced drug delivery have not been achieved to date. Here, we report the in vivo tumor targeted positron emission tomography (PET)/near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) dual-modality imaging and enhanced drug delivery of HMSN using a generally applicable surface engineering technique. Systematic in vitro and in vivo studies have been performed to investigate the stability, tumor targeting efficacy and specificity, biodistribution and drug delivery capability of well-functionalized HMSN nano-conjugates. The highest uptake of TRC105 (which binds to CD105 on tumor neovasculature) conjugated HMSN in the 4T1 murine breast cancer model was ∼10%ID/g, 3 times higher than that of the non-targeted group, making surface engineered HMSN a highly attractive drug delivery nano-platform for future cancer theranostics.
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